Gil Marks’ Sweet Potato Latkes

This interesting recipe comes from the late Gil Marks, rabbi, author and food historian. Rabbi Marks was the author of the James Beard-award winning book, Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes From Jewish Communities Around the World (Wiley), the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food and other wonderful books on Jewish cooking and baking. 

Photo by Dov Harrington

Makes about 18, 3-inch pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, grated or 1 pound grated sweet potatoes and 1 pound grated white potatoes
  • 2 to 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • About 3 tablespoons matzoh meal or 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • About 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Dash of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, or nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 cup raisins, chopped dates, or nuts (optional)
  • Vegetable oil or schmaltz for frying

Directions

Combine the potatoes, eggs, matzoh meal or flour, salt, pepper, spice, and, if desired, sugar and/or fruit or nuts. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat (3 to 5 minutes).  Add 1/8 inch oil and heat to 360º F.  (The surface of the oil will shimmer.) Drop the batter by tablespoonfuls or 1/3 cupfuls into oil and flatten with back of a spoon. Fry, turning, until golden on both sides (3 to 5 minutes a side). Drain on paper towels. 

The flavor and texture of latkes deteriorates rather quickly. To reheat, place cooled or frozen latkes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in a 375º F oven until crisp, 5 minutes per side for cooled; 8 minutes per side for frozen.